30 Ways to Achieve The English Cottage Look

Shannon Quinn - December 24, 2019
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This beautiful red door has a lion’s head knocker. Credit: Shutterstock

2. A Painted Front Door With a Knocker

Something that you see a lot in England and France is a painted front door. This gives your house a pop of color that can help you stand out from your neighbors, who most likely kept the standard brown color. In France, a blue door is a symbol of royalty, because the dye was only accessible to the aristocracy for a long time. As soon as commoners were able to afford blue paint and dye, it began to appear all over England and France. This is a sign that you could afford the small luxuries in life, even if it was only enough paint for your front door.

Yet another lion’s head knocker, this time on a blue door. Credit: Shutterstock

Door knockers are also popular in England, because houses were built long before doorbells existed. A brass door knocker can actually show a lot about your family heritage. For example, in the photos I included in this article, the door knockers are of a lion’s head. This is typically a symbol of English royalty. My family happens to have Irish heritage on both sides, so our brass door knocker is the Claddagh. There are a lot of different shapes and size door knockers out there available online.

A “vicar” was a clergyman. So this sign lets you know the house was the former town vicarage. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Feature a Name Plate Outside of the House

In The United Kingdom, many houses in affluent areas have a name plate outside of the home. This isn’t necessarily the name of the family, but rather a nickname given to the house itself. The name can be passed down from one owner to the next, and it’s rarely changed by the new occupant. Anyone who has seen Skyfall already knows that this was the name of James Bond’s family home. The name doesn’t always have to be that original, though. Many people might call their home after their last name, like Quinn Cottage or Smith Manor.  In most cases, the name gives a nod to the house’s history. 

This house is called “Chapel View Cottage” because of its view of the village church. Credit: Shutterstock

Here in the United States, naming your house isn’t something people do, because it’s seen as being pretentious. It’s much more common to see a sign with someone’s last name inside of the house, rather than outside. We might have our house number by the door, but that’s it. However, if you want to do this for yourself, you should consider hiring an artist on Etsy to create a custom sign for you. After visiting England, I felt inspired to give our family home a name, since it was built in the 1800’s, and will likely be passed down to me. After much debate, we decided on Cedar Manor, because we’re on a large piece of land next to a cedar forest. However, we haven’t made the sign yet, because we are- in fact- afraid of coming off as pretentious!

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